The ex-prime minister’s surprise resignation as an MP followed a collapse in his popularity that is likely to be terminal

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When Boris Johnson sat down to draft his resignation statement after learning the privileges committee had concluded that he lied to MPs over Partygate, he was determined to leave his enemies – on both sides of the Commons – a clear message.

It is very sad to be leaving parliament,” he wrote. “At least for now…” That he still harbours hopes of a comeback – despite the damage that he has done to his own reputation, the Conservative party brand and to the country more widely – should surprise nobody.